Lazarus, the famous parable about him and the rich man, was the focus of today’s readings in the Catholic Church. In Luke 16:19-31, we read about a poor man named Lazarus who would lie at the door of an unnamed rich man. The rich, royally dressed, man dined well each day. Poor Lazarus simply wanted scraps to no apparent avail. When each man died, Lazarus went to heaven while the rich man went to hell. Astonishingly, the rich man called out for Lazarus to help – to cool the rich man’s tongue, which was overheated in the flames of hell.
The NFL reminds me of the unnamed rich man in this parable. NFL players are rich, wear fine clothes, and eat very well. The NFL itself is very wealthy, having amassed approximately $1 billion in income in 2015.
We even see a parallel in the rich man’s gall in asking Lazarus for help, after ignoring him. Some NFL players, like Colin Kaepernick are protesting the National Anthem. They are simultaneously eating well while claiming victim-hood status. They live a fine life in this country. They should appreciate it, but they do not.
I no longer pay attention to the NFL, for this reason. I cannot stand how ungrateful these players are. I have essentially boycotted the NFL. I have for the entire 2016 season. I have not watched 1 second of NFL football.
Not paying attention to the NFL (the rich man) allowed me to pay attention to Lazarus today. Because I was not spending my Sunday afternoon watching ungrateful NFL players, I was preparing to make dinner for my family. To follow the recipe, I needed to run to the store to pick up several necessary ingredients.
A homeless family was camped in the parking lot of the store. As I drove by them, I saw a mom, a dad, and several young girls – one in a stroller. They were Lazarus. They just wanted scraps.
While in the store, finding my ingredients, I also bought dinner for this family. Nothing huge–a loaf of bread, bottled water, and several squeeze fruit packets for their children.
Upon leaving the store, I was able to give this little dinner package to this hungry family. The father was incredibly grateful. The mother unable to make eye contact. As I was walking away, the mother gave the fruit packet to her girls. One of her girls kissed the fruit packet in excitement, incredibly grateful for this little bit of food.
So, contrast the NFL players with the homeless family. The former is ungrateful, despite their riches. The latter is grateful for the scraps they receive.
Who deserves our attention on Sundays? The Lazarus parable tells us.